JERUSALEM: Four Israeli settlers killed in attack in the occupied West Bank
At least four Israeli settlers have been killed in a shooting by two Palestinian gunmen near an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank – a day after a deadly raid carried out Israeli troops.
Four people were confirmed dead and four others were wounded on Tuesday in the attack near Eli, in the northern West Bank, the Magen David Adom emergency services said in a statement.
One of the gunmen was shot dead at the scene and Israeli forces later killed the second suspect after he fled in a taxi near Nablus. Palestinian officials did not immediately comment.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, confirmed the deadly attack. “Suspects opened fire into a gas station” near the entrance of the Eli settlement between Ramallah and Nablus, he said.
The Israeli military said the gunmen arrived by car and opened fire on a restaurant, and then targeted the petrol station. One of the attackers “stole a running vehicle and fled the area”, said Khan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an “urgent security consultation”, he added. His far-right allies have been calling for a large-scale operation in the west bank.
The shooting comes a day after six Palestinians were killed in Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank during a large-scale Israeli military incursion. At least 91 people were wounded during the nine-hour raid.
Israeli forces closed off entrances to Nablus.
Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, the group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, described Tuesday’s shooting as a “response to the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation” in Jenin and elsewhere.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also commended the attack, saying it was a natural response to growing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.
The group said it considered the shooting as part of Palestinians’ “legitimate right to exercise self-defence”.
“We are seeing gun attacks like this and they seem to be taking place by people who aren’t really affiliated with any particular group – they are looking for revenge when it comes to the things that they’ve seen go on in the occupied West Bank,” said Khan.
Israel has been conducting near-daily raids and killings of Palestinians in the West Bank since June 2021 in an attempt to crack down on a growing armed resistance.
In 2022, Israeli forces killed more than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in what was described as the deadliest year for Palestinians living in those areas since 2006.
Since the start of 2023, Israeli forces have killed at least 160 Palestinians, including 26 children.
Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, house between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite Palestinians seeking the land as part of a future state.
Earlier on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel to immediately “cease all settlement activities” in occupied Palestinian territory, describing Israel’s plans to advance the building of settlements as driving “tensions and violence” and being a major obstacle to a lasting peace.